Campaign India Team
Jun 27, 2012

CEOs more tech and brand-aware than we think: study

A series of two studies by MEC and CNBC indicates that digital adoption has made chief executives in Asia more accessible and more brand-conscious than at any point in the past.

CEOs more tech and brand-aware than we think: study

The rate of accessibility is likely to increase as CEOs become more attuned to technology. While they are drawn to digital technology primarily as a means of aggregating information and managing time more effectively, they are also beginning to see the potential uses of social media in business.

Uptake of social platforms is tentative due to a continuing desire for privacy. Nonetheless, the study pointed to limited use of social networks for internal communications as a means of enabling employees to air their opinions and move towards greater transparency within corporations. Externally, communication via social media is still in its infancy, but CEOs surveyed did show an appreciation of the value of social platforms as business-to-business tools and as an aid to company positioning.

In a statement, Jon Wright, head of analytics and insight for MEC Asia-Pacific (pictured), noted that social networks are not the most effective way of communicating with CEOs “since they are reluctant to lose control of their communication structures”. But he added that CEOs are no different from anyone else in seeking recommendations through respected media brands, “hence B2B brands have an opportunity to partner with these media brands to provide valuable, timely content.”

The study dispelled the concept of CEOs as being unreachable and hiding behind personal assistants. Instead, it said, CEOs are keen to take direct control of their own access to communications, business performance and industry news. This was attributed to competitive spirit, a desire to learn and develop and a fear of missing out.

Notably, CEOs were shown to be more open to receiving communications from brands, provided they are relevant. Relevance was defined as providing new, clear, actionable information at an appropriate time, via an appropriate channel. Email was shown to be the preferred means of contact.

Another concept debunked by the study was a lack of brand-consciousness among CEOs. It found CEOs in Asia to be highly attuned to brands and their principles, from hotels and airlines to clothing and technology. Apple was cited as a shining example of a brand that has earned the respect of CEOs based on its ethos and the achievements of its own CEO.

“We often forget that CEOs are human beings too,” Wright said. “In many ways technology has made them more similar to the everyday person. Brands need to ensure that valuable content is provided that fits in with CEOs’ requirements, and it needs to be effectively ‘liquid’ in order to be accessible via any device.”

The study canvassed 32 CEOs in multinational companies across China, Hong Kong, India and Singapore.

The article first appeared on Camapign Asia

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